Petr Cech: 6
Very nearly an hour before he had anything to do whatsoever, clawing Nani’s left-wing cross from the path of the onrushing strikers. Otherwise a spectator.
Carl Jenkinson: 6
Did a decent job considering he was played out of position at left back. Blocked goal-bound shot from Diaby early in second half before being replaced by Kolasinac. Warm reception from crowd.
Sead Kolasinac (60 mins for Carl Jenkinson): 6
Played high up and caused threats with a couple of decent crosses.
Rob Holding: 8
Appeals for a penalty against him rightly waved away by the referee towards the end of the first half. The ball hit his chest, not his arm. Otherwise dealt with minimal threats well and grew into the game. Some decent interceptions, one particularly good from an Acuna cross after an hour. Winning some high praise from many quarters of late.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 7
Some solid interceptions with both feet and head. Organised the defence well and looked assured:
Stephan Lichtsteiner: 7
His experience snuffed out couple of early threats from Sporting. Booked for diving in on Nani after 20 minutes. Great cross from the right after 25 minutes leading to a Welbeck header. Shot from outside box just wide to the left prior to the break. Pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury after 70 minutes.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (73 mins for Lichtsteiner): 6
Little time to get into the game but did nothing wrong
Matteo Guendouzi: 8
Always seems to be involved in a game somehow. Good box to box performance. Caught in possession on edge of his own area early on but had a very good game thereafter. Good defence-splitting pass which was just too hard for Smith Rowe to get on to the end of. Fizzed cross from right midway through first half almost resulted in an own goal. Lovely ball threaded through Sporting defence just before half time which put Lichtsteiner in down the right. Booked for challenge on Nani after 70 minutes. Lovely pass to Iwobi late on could have led to a winner.
Aaron Ramsey: 7
Quiet game but assured in his passing and made a couple of good blocks and interceptions to break up Sporting moves.
Emile Smith Rowe: 7
Bright, always wanted the ball and looked sharp and confident with some good tricks. Made space for himself on edge of box midway through first half but curled his shot just over the top. Good ball down line set Iwobi off on mazey run at start of second half.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 7
Free kick cross from right after 20 minutes led to half a chance from a Welbeck header. Lovely control and reverse pass in his own half started a great move which ended with a Smith Rowe shot wide early in the second half. Couldn’t convert a weighted cross from Iwobi late on.
Alex Iwobi: 7
Again looked bright. Much improved under Unai Emery and clearly more confident. Good early ball down the line from deep to Welbeck. Lots of trickery and some decent crosses.
Danny Welbeck: 7
Header wide from Mkhitaryan cross in first half. Another from Lichtsteiner’s cross before he went off with what looked like a nasty injury.
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang (30 mins for Danny Welbeck): 7
Volley from great Mkhitaryan cross from right at start of the second half struck post. Hit side netting shortly after. Free kick late on wide.